U.K. comedienne stretches in longer showcase in
British import Gina Yashere, given her own hour showcase
at the Just For Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival, started slowly, with
the first quarter of her act seemingly reliant on jokes with rather
predictable twists, but as her show July 25 proceeded, it became more
original and grew on an audience.
Yashere is at heart a storyteller, and her best moments came when she
went into longer pieces, like a story of going back to Nigeria where her
parents came from, casting herself as bumbling her way through the
corruption in airport customs, expecting she could escape paying bribes
out of sheer confidence, and of course falling short.
Performing in Montreal, and being from the UK, she also had fun with the
topic of health care, describing getting injured while in the US, and
claiming, “If I lost my leg, it would be cheaper to get on British
Airways back home with one seat for me and one seat for my leg.
[speaking to flight attendant], ‘I’ll have a soda and my leg will have …
a lot of ice.’”
While Yashere told it well, a long piece in her performance concerning
getting colonics was more nausea-inducing than entertaining, and really
was the only poor choice subject-wise.
Yashere keeps a slow, casual pace on stage, punctuating it with
animation at times, as in a bit about the differences between
African-Americans and black people from the rest of the world. “I don’t
like rap,” she says, launching into a torrential cascade of misogynistic
profanity, mimicking rappers, with nothing but the various words.
She also got some local color, having a long interaction in the middle
of the show with Arnie, a loquacious audience member dressed very
eccentrically in a silver top hat and see through shirt, eventually
letting him join her on stage where she ripped his sense of style, or
lack thereof, quite well.
Yashere is definitely an original talent as a comedian. Although she may
not immediately seize an audience, given a full hour she definitely gets
one on her side, and has the material and performing skills to keep you
For Laughs -- Montreal Comedy Festival coverage sponsored by
Eric & LaNita Hazard; Irving & Sonya Rozansky.